Collaboration is the name of the game. Nothing is more interesting than having a husband and wife team of artists commit to a project that will produce surprisingly offbeat but accessible. Arte Fuse traveled to the “other side” of Manhattan far from the prestigious white cube glamor of Chelsea to the East Side where the Bowery meets its gritty bosom. The opening reception for Fernando Orellana and Melinda McDaniel at Milavec Hakimi Gallery last April 5, 2012 proved to be an embodiment of such results.
The recent collection of work from the couple was done at their studio in Troy, New York. While the works are starkly different from one another in concept, there is a subtle indication of where a dynamic connection is apparent.
Fernando Orellana created works that are based on a favorite theme of artist’s, which is the transition from life to death. Employing a very skilled hand incorporating robotics into his mechanical mixed media wonders, the very eerie but cerebral oeuvre of personal effects from the recently deceased estate sales like vials of dried scents from a person who made incense and dolls or hand held bells from a collector were all meant to move or be activated once his ghostly meter sets off based on a low level of electromagnetic energy or temperature readings. These are components in paranormal research that gets a tech savvy treatment. It is the very idea of mortality presented in high quality construction and activated by a possibility of a spectral force that gives this a quirky yet cleverly entertaining twist. It’s the automaton of the macabre.
Melinda McDaniel uses a different material in the body of her work. Using unprocessed photographic papers, pieces of photographs and various other materials to put a spin on hidden images within her oeuvre. The giveaway would be the change in color as the photo paper’s change in color is contingent upon the exposure of the piece to light in the space. The overwhelming amount of imagery is skillfully hidden in direct opposite to today’s incessant bombardment of pictures. The refined and quiet quality of the work evokes a muffled effect from such needless visual noise. In this way, we are forced to confront such fleeting images are a matter or choice of what we want to see or choose to obliterate from our line of vision.
The paranormal materiality and the ephemera of visual imagery could be statements of derived mysticism or the abstract forces governing how we negotiate our fleeting life and what scenes we choose to populate it with.
Fernando Orellana and Melinda McDaniel: The Other Side
On view: April 5 – May 3, 2012 / Gallery Hours: Sun – Thursday (11 am to 8 pm) and Friday (11:00 am – 4 pm)
Milavec Hakimi Gallery. 51 Cooper Square. New York, NY 10003
article by: Oscar A. Laluyan